Sparkadia - Interviews - Soundblab


by Lawrence Poole Rating: Release Date:

After a three-year absence Sparkadia are back, back, back. He may have shed his Antipodean bandmates but frontman Alex Burnett's swagbag of soaring melodies is as jam-packed as ever - if blues-soaked comeback single, 'Mary', is anything to go by. Soundblab caught up with the celestial-voiced Sydney singer after a recent single launch in Hoxton for a chinwag.

You're back with a new single and a new album, The Great Impression - exciting times...
Yes, it's good to be back. I'm really happy with the record and looking forward to taking it on the road now.

There's a big tour in Australia coming up - looking forward to getting home?
Yeah, it's been a while. One of our tracks, 'China', is doing really well on indie and commercial stations over there so we're going to head over and do some dates. We've got a couple more in London before we go too.

You're from Sydney, aren't you?
Yes, I live by the beach, so it's great for surfing. Australia's like a tropical paradise compared to London at this time of year, so it will be good to go back! Half of what your hear about Australians is true and half is false; they're very open people who love life and really appreciate when bands go out and play there. I came here to do the record and this is the place to be to make music.

How have you found living in London?
I love it. I live in Tufnell Park and I get out and about as much as I can. It's a city that can eat you up and hug you at the same time! There's so much going on, it demands your instant attention - it's a great place to make music.

Are you pleased with how the record has turned out?
I'm really proud of it; it was a long process because I did a lot of it own my own so had to wear artist and producer hats. Mark Tieku, who has worked with Florence + the Machine, worked on it too and he was great.

How was working on your own away from the band?
It was very liberating because I could make all the decisions myself. There was extra pressure and responsibility too - but if I wanted to put a gospel choir on a song I could.

What happened with the other band members?
We'd been on the road for a long time from 2009 onwards and they wanted to get off and I didn't, I wanted to carry on this crazy ride. There was no musical differences or arguments though, Tiffany (Preece, keyboardist) had a baby, Nick (Rabone, bassist) went to India - they've given me their blessing.

You've got a new live band - pleased with how it's working out?
Yeah, it's great, I sent out a few emails and lots of people came back and said they loved the music and wanted to work with me. I had to choose between 15 bassists. It's going great and perhaps they'll appear on the next record.

How did you get into music?
I used to play cello as a kid, but I loved pop music too. I used to watch a show called Rage every Saturday morning, which played the top 100 and I loved all the melodies I used to hear - songs like 'I've Been Thinking About You' by London Beat had this sound you just wanted to jump into.

When did you first think about making a career out of songwriting?
My uncle used to write movie soundtracks and he took me to a studio and I was fascinated by all the instruments. He told me if you write music, you can make money from it - I guess it just clicked.

Plans for the rest of 2011?
I love writing, so I want to keep doing that and work on the next record. We'll do as many festivals as we're invited to and want to play - we'll just see where the record takes us.

Sparkadia release The Great Impression through Gold Dust on March 18. They play Camden Barfly on March 8 and Proud Galleries on March 9.

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